Bullet for My Valentine’s Matt Tuck Talks British Invasion Tour, ‘Venom’ Album + More
It's one of the hot tours of early 2016. Bullet for My Valentine are heading up the "British Invasion" tour with support from Asking Alexandria and While She Sleeps. Loudwire had a chance to chat with Bullet for My Valentine frontman Matt Tuck about the trek, and we also got into a discussion about some of the Venom album key tracks, the addition of Jamie Mathias into the group and even touched on the status of Tuck's other band AxeWound. Check out the chat below.
First, the "British Invasion" tour. I love the lineup you guys put together with Asking Alexandria and While She Sleeps. Can you talk about the two bands that you're bringing along?
Most people are into heavy metal have known these names for a while. [Asking Alexandria] they've been a great band. We've known these guys for a while and done some tours together in the U.K. before, so we thought we'd do a British package so they were on the wish list for the main support and then While She Sleeps are a band that most people in the U.K. have been familiar with for two or three years now. They've put a couple of albums out. Super intense, super good, super energetic. Yeah, it's good; it's a great package, you know, all of us are, obviously, British heavy metal bands, but we're very much different from each other, so it's good.
Asking Alexandria, they've had some changeover with the singer. Have you had the chance to hang out with those guys and get a feel of what it's like with Denis Stoff?
No, not with Denis involved, no. We've known these guys for a few years after Danny was involved so, we haven't really crossed paths or seen each other since their lineup change, really, you know, so it'll be good to seem them with some fresh blood and a new lineup. Should be good.
Your band has also had a change. Jamie [Mathias] has joined the group since we last spoke. Can you talk a little bit about what he's brought to the band?
Yeah, a lot of things, really: excitement. Just a kind of perspective, from our side of things, you know, having a guy in the band who's experienced this life before. We're throwing him in the deep end and bringing our band to a new place and going on tour. It's good; it's just brought a new lease on life to the band, and everything's exciting, new, we've done things a million times - he hasn't, so it's kind of good to introduce him to stuff, it really makes us excited again. As far as being onstage goes, he's a great singer. He does a lot vocal backups and he does all the vocal harmonies and he plays really well. He's just a solid guy. He does everything we need him to do. He's a great addition to the band.
You sing in Bullet but in your other band AxeWound you got to sit back and let somebody else take the vocals. Having been through that, how was it to bring Jamie, who had been a singer in his other band, into the fold?
It's great having that element there, because, you know, he was the frontman and vocals and he's got an amazing voice. And singing out of breath and stuff, it keeps me on my toes, makes me only want to ... to dig deep and do the best I can, you know. When it comes to the vocal harmonies and stuff, it's spot on. It's album quality coming out of that side of the stage, you know. It's that side of things that we haven't really had before until Jamie joined up with us, it definitely brings some kind of new dynamic to the live show.
I saw an interview where you were talking about how the band has regained the "fun" element in terms of performing live. Can you talk about what the stage dynamic is like now and how it is getting out there and playing?
It's good, you know, I think kind of having Jamie involved and kind getting that side of the band done and dusted and moving on and, you know, following it up with, what I think we think is an amazing record. Everyone is just taking stock of what's important, and, again, we've had an amazing career, but it's still years to go if we want it to, you know. It's just kind of not getting complacent, and just kind of keeping motivated and just keeping enjoying what we're doing because there are moments that get a bit boring and repetitive. Everyone's away from their families and loved ones and stuff, you know, and that does suck sometimes, but it's more to keep going and get focused again, and do what we do best.
Late last year, we got the Live From Kingston digital EP. Did it seem like a good time to put out something live for the fans to embrace where you guys are at now?
Yeah, it was just an opportunity to do something different, something we'd never done before. The way music and the music industry is evolving, you know, content is key. So it's just little things like that that gets the fans excited and always keeps the momentum going, going into tours and stuff like that, you know. Little things like that, they don't take much effort from us at all, but it makes the fans really happy. Even though it didn't come out very well and we were all ill as dogs on that particular show - which is typical - so it didn't come out as good as we'd planned, but it is what it is, you know. The fans are stoked. I'd be stoked now if one of my favorite bands did that now, just have a little EP with some live songs, it's great, you know, fans love that s--t.
Loved the Summer's Last Stand tour with Slipknot, Lamb Of God and Motionless in White. What a bill! Any favorite memories from that tour?
I can't think of anything specifically. It was a lot more relaxed, chilled out than what we thought it was going to be. You know, I think just being on tour with a band like Slipknot, we've all been doing a long time now. You know, maybe not as long as those guys, but we've been doing it over a decade as well. I think we were just kind of enjoying touring, and summertime in the States, and everyone knew each other, and it was kind of calm, and there was no kind of groupie nonsense going on backstage. It was really nice. There was loads of kids out cause it was during the summer holiday, so everyone was having their family out all the time. It was just a really nice, laid back way of touring. It wasn't this crazy, stressful, rock and roll binge drinking thing that a lot of people might assume. It was nothing like that, you know. It was actually a really nice way to do things. It just made everything so much calmer, more relaxed, and more enjoyable.
The Venom album has been out for a while. You've had a chance to work some of the songs into the set that you wanted to work in. Is there a favorite song to play off the Venom album and can you talk about why that song stands out?
I think - it depends on the show, which is weird, as well, because you get so, you want the balance. We did "You Want a Battle" during some of the Slipknot shows. It felt really weird doing it not with a roof on and the sun shining. So I would say that that's my new favorite song to play, definitely, but for some reason, having the right room helps. It's a weird thing to say, but, yeah, so that's one of my favorite songs to play live from the new record. It's just so epic. It's just got a great hook, you know, it's got the crowd participation part right in front. It's just so heavy, so heavy.
I realize that "You Want a Battle, Here's a War" has been out for awhile, but could you talk about where that song came from and how it was to put that song together in the studio?
Originally, kind of the instrumental part of the chorus is what came together first. Kind of the chord sequence, it had this little happy piece, which is there, which kind of is quite low in the mix so it's not - I don't know if you noticed it, but there's this guitar tapping and goes through the last chorus. That was the actual intro for the song. And then we started to demo it, and we thought, this is how normal songs get together, you know, it's just a bunch of stuff that we started to put together. And then we got a vibe. From where it started to where it ended off, there's technically the same bits, but we cut in so much different places with dynamics, and the tempos, and stuff like that. It was a very enjoyable song to work on, because as soon as we came up with the chorus and then the vocal melodies that we put over the top, it was just getting on monstrous straightaway. It was just so anthemic (authentic).
This album in general is a darker and heavier album than its predecessor. Can you talk about the mindset going into this record and did you have an idea that you wanted to go in that direction? Did it just evolve as you started to put the music together?
No, I think this was the most clarity we've had, pre-album sessions that we ever had. We spent a lot of time demoing. We knew that Jay [James] was gone six months before we announced it to the public. So we were very much aware that as soon as we dropped that bombshell we had to back it up with something which wasn't going to scare the fans, you know. And coming off having the criticism that we did off the last record, you know, we took that onboard and we thought, alright, ok let's doing something that people wanted. Let's do something which is kind of is kind of the complete opposite from the last record we did. Our last record was very hard rock based. There was a lot of, kind of, sassy style of rock was going on. This one was like, okay, let's just take people's heads off. You know, show people what we've got; there's still a lot of life and aggression left in us yet, which we kind of lost along the way somehow. But, you know, we definitely found it again. And we just let it all out. As soon as we started that and demoing the songs, we caught on to that darker, heavier sound, which, we've always had in us, but we just kind of recaptured that, and let it just kind of all hang out, which was great.
I wanted to ask about the title track "Venom." If you can take me into the studio on that one, how did that one come together?
That one literally came about from just playing with guitar riffs. The intro riff, which has got this big, sweeping delay that keeps going on, like the riff on guitar is only like three or four notes and that whole effect on our guitar. Kind of like The Edge, with U2, you know, it's the effect that does all the work for you and makes it sound amazing. So I just came up with this little riff, put that effect on it and just loved the atmospheric-ness of it, you know, it had lots of reverbs going in the studio. Kind of this spacey sound and we just wanted something that could kind of build upon that and make it as big as we could, and have John Bonham style drums at the front. We just wanted to give that song a lot of boom, a lot of atmosphere. We didn't want it to sound like a heavy metal track, we wanted it to sound bigger, kind of Def Leppard style song that you could get. Just a darker version.
As a follow-up to a past story, I wanted to ask about taking the fans' ashes encased in the jewelry over to the U.S. to play. Can you talk about that experience? What was it like for you once you were able to fulfill that goal to bring them over and do what you wanted to do in tribute?
Obviously, people know the gist of the story. We were approached by these two families that had lost their boys in a car crash who were huge Bullet fans. They came up with this idea in memory of the boys that they'd put some of the ashes in these handmade pieces of jewelry and they asked us to take them on tour, which I thought was such an amazing thing to ask. Especially when they're going through such a time. As a parent you can't go through anything worse, ever. We decided to take the jewelry on tour and we went all through South America and on the Slipknot tour and we finally got to meet up on the UK leg of the tour in November.
All the families came and it was nice, we gave the pieces back to them and they told us a little bit more about the boys and what they were like. It just made it a lot more real because we hadn't had that personal contact at that point. But, when they were actually in the dressing room and talking about it, getting upset, so it was very real. It was very emotional and touching. Just something that we did for them that didn't take any effort on our part, really. It was just a gesture to do it, like, of course we'll do that. It just made them so happy, we gave them a little bit of happiness in probably the most awful time of their lives. It was really good. We have a nice relationship with them now. We're in contact with the parents. Any shows they want to come to, they're always invited to hang out. It's a nice story, but a sad one. We did something which put a smile on their faces.
What's on the horizon for the band? Any more singles coming off the album? What are you looking at for 2016 and beyond?
Apart from the mega-tour, we've got a video shoot coming up next, kind of the final video thing we're going to do for the record. We want to hopefully at some point, if we get time, record another EP of 3 or 4 tracks. Purely for content, really. It's the point of keeping these tracks and having a more traditional output of like, keeping stuff and then doing albums. From now on, a decade, keep that going and always be a band that makes a record. I think 18 months between release and starting your next one, I think it's so important to keep people engaged now. We'll release as much content as we can, whether it's live stuff or on social media, hopefully do another 3 or 4 track EP to give away during the cycle. Keep our fans interested and happy. Just mega-touring, really. We always do our best. We'll be where people can find us as much as we can.
Lastly, I thought it was cool that you went off and did AxeWound for a little while. Did that feed at all into the desire to go back to Bullet and do what you did? And is there thought of maybe more AxeWound at some point?
Yeah, I'm always in touch with Jason [Bowld]. We're always trying to do it and it never comes to fruition just because of people's schedules. It was a very freaky moment in time when we started that and got to do that. Trying to do it again seems impossible for some reason. But, I would like to do something with those boys again, absolutely. It was a real great experience. Considering we wrote and recorded that album in two weeks is insane. We'd be given four weeks next time, who knows what we'd come up with. It's something we all definitely want to do, it's just finding that time.
I don't think it influenced the Bullet stuff, and Bullet never influenced AxeWound either. I made a conscious effort to keep them separate when it was happening anyways. I didn't want to be the singer, I didn't want to do any of that stuff. I think it'd be pointless, but yeah, I'd love to do stuff in the future. It's just finding the time. Bullet is a very busy machine, it's hard to get that full down time and to get it done. Never say never, of course.
Our thanks to Bullet for My Valentine's Matt Tuck for the interview. The Venom album is out now on Amazon and iTunes. And as stated, Bullet for My Valentine are currently out on the British Invasion tour with Asking Alexandria and While She Sleeps. See where they're playing here and stay tuned for our coverage of the tour's Los Angeles stop.